The effect of advice to read the medicine/patient information leaflet among patients in Ghana: a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Objective

Medicines, especially those that are packaged for the patient, are by law required to include a set of information. This informs the patient or client on his/her medication. Our aim was to investigate the factors that are associated with reading the medicine/patient information leaflet among patients who are advised to read the leaflet compared to those who are not, and to find out whether there are any significant differences between these two groups.

Methods

A total of 531 adult patients from the main teaching hospital in Accra, Ghana, were asked to fill in a questionnaire. Information was gathered with emphasis on those whose medication came with a leaflet. The effect of advice to read the leaflet and other associations between covariates were examined.

Key findings

Of the 531 patients, 421 (79.3%) had received a leaflet before and of these 93.8% had received some verbal information from the health worker (doctor/pharmacist/ nurse). Only 139/421 (33.0%) said they were ever told to read the leaflet by their health worker. Those who recalled being advised to read the leaflet were about six times (odds ratio = 5.77; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.76–12.04; P < 0.001) as likely to report having read the leaflet than those who did not, and they were also more likely (59% compared with 36%; χ2 = 12.21; P < 0.001) to discuss with the health worker the problems they had while using the medication. Age group was a weak effect modifier (P = 0.04).

Conclusions

Educational status was the most important risk factor among those measured. Other risk factors were employment and marital status. Public awareness should be stepped up to encourage reading of the leaflet by patients.

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